Unfortunately, two of Senator Feingold’s amendments were voted down, listed below as A and B. However, remaining amendments, including the third amendment below (C), will be voted upon on Tuesday, and library advocates are asked to keep calls going into their Senators’ offices asking each Senator to support civil liberties concerns in S. 2248. For more on these developments, please read the story in CQ.
Further, this issue is moving very quickly. Since the Senate is spending so much time on this bill, the House will have only a limited amount of time before the President’s Day recess to get the bill passed. Call your Representative now and get him/her ready! Express your concern for civil liberties!
The most immediate and important task for library supporters is to call or fax, as soon as possible, both of their respective U.S. Senators to SUPPORT the three amendments being offered by Senator Feingold and others to S. 2248, The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act. These civil liberties amendments would add some privacy protections to the surveillance standards of FISA: the significant purpose amendment; the bulk collection amendment and the Webb-Tester-Feingold amendment! S. 2248 is too flawed to support without such improvements.
The Senate continues debate this afternoon the S. 2248, the FISA Amendments Act.
a) Reverse Targeting: An amendment that would require the government to seek a full, individualized FISA court order, based on probable cause, for the conduct of surveillance when a significant purpose of such surveillance is to acquire the communications of particular person in the
b) Bulk Collection: An amendment expected to be offered by Senators Feingold and Dodd would prevent the government from engaging in mass, untargeted collection of all communications coming into or going out of the
c) Protection of Americans International Communications: Senators Webb, Tester, Feingold, and others are expected to offer an amendment that would protect the privacy of certain international communications involving people in the
When the government does not know in advance with whom a foreign target is communicating, the amendment permits acquisition of a communication with a person in the
OTHER EXPECTED AMENDMENTS:
Senators Feinstein and Cardin are also expected to offer “improvement amendments.” Ask for support for these and any other civil liberties amendments.
The floor debate is vigorous and the situation fluid. Watch for updates on C-SPAN and in the news – as well, standby for updates from the ALA Office of Government Relations. Similar action will also be needed as the House starts work on their version of this legislation, likely to come later this week.